It’s like a never-ending hard task for mums trying to get their little fussy eaters to finish a meal. There’s the “pre-meal battle” (as I call it ) before the first bite, and to think of having to struggle with it every time- exhausting!
How do you deal with a fussy eater?
That’s the big question, isn’t it?! I think its time we bring in the expert! Sarah Walker, a registered holistic nutritionist en route to becoming a dietitian. She explains how we can deal with picky eaters with her top 3 tips. These tips are so simple, yet life-changing. Learn what to do and how to do it.
Dinnertime doesn’t have to be a battle, even if you have picky kids. If you’re tired of fighting, pleading, cajoling, and negotiating your kids into eating every meal, try these 3 tips to make dinnertime more peaceful.
Kids are experts at negotiating, and if you open the floor up for bargains, you’re setting yourself up to fail. Pleading with them to eat just 3 more bites will make them think that every meal can be bargained, and you’ll end up frustrated. Just don’t do it. This isn’t to say that you can’t tell kids they have to have X bites of carrots before they can have more cucumbers but set that expectation early, and before meals. My kids respond really well to having as many bits as they are old. When my 5-year-old starts whining about what she has to eat, we ask her how old she is, and remind her that she needs to have that many good bites of whatever it is before she’s done.
Give them a bit of everything everyone else is eating
Sibling pressure is a great tool in this case. My 2 year old thinks her big sister hung the moon, and she’ll eat most things if she sees my 5-year-old eating them. Kids are so observant, and they want to emulate their parents and siblings. Sometimes just plating their food in the same way, or on the same dishes as everyone else will change the mood at the dinner table. You may have to reduce or leave off any sauces you’re using, but consistently giving kids the same foods (and then not negotiating with them about eating it!) will turn the tides of your dinner battles.
Give them some control
Another great way to avoid mealtime fights is to give your kids some control over the meal. The first way you can do that is by involving them in the meal preparations. Have them sort veggies, stir noodles, measure rice, or shake a marinade bag. Being able to say that they made part of dinner will give them ownership of it, and entice them to eat it. A second way to give them control is to let them serve themselves. Serve your meal family style with dishes on the table and let them scoop their own dinner. It may be messy at first, but giving your kids the ability to choose what they put on their plate will make them more inclined to eat what ends up there. This means that you’ll have to be ok with it if they choose to only have carrots one night, or pick all the meatballs out of the spaghetti. If they’re eating what they choose, don’t say a thing. Eventually, they will branch out and try more of the foods offered at each meal until they’re eating the same thing as everyone else.
Above all else, don’t let them see you sweat. Kids’ nutrition shouldn’t be analyzed on a meal-by-meal basis. Take a look at their meals over a week, and you’ll probably see that stressing over eating their carrots at dinner tonight isn’t worth it. Stepping away from the dinner battle with these three tips will make for a much more peaceful household, and it will set your kids up for great eating habits for the rest of their lives.
There you go, right from a nutritionist’s handbook! Sarah has made this so easy to implement and follow. Trust me, I’ve put the last one to practice and it works. When I get my toddler to help with the pizza toppings, she can’t wait for the pizza to come out of the oven to eat. Give these a shot, everything is trial and error, we learn as we go along. And, if you have any tricks you’d like to share in dealing with fussy kids, leave them in the comments box below.